A long way to go before a consensus is reached on the regulation of football agents
Over the past 50 years the role of the player agent in European football has become increasingly important. As the value of transfers has increased so has the role and profile of agents working with both players and clubs.
Agents have become a fundamental part of the football industry so regulations are necessary in order for governing bodies to keep an element of control and safeguard players.
The FIFA Players Agent Regulation (FIFA PAR)1 governs the activity of player agents operating in global football.
Each FIFA Member Association is obliged by FIFA PAR to incorporate the rules into their own national regulations (Article 1 – Scope, Para 5 – FIFA PAR). However, recently FIFA has suggested that the current set of regulations is not as effective as they could be and have established a working group to develop and draft a new set.
This blog outlines the current provisions in the FIFA PAR and examines the potential impact of the proposed changes.
What is an Agent?
An agent is defined in the definitions of the FIFA PARs2 as:
"a natural person who, for a fee, introduces players to clubs with a view to negotiating or renegotiating an employment contract or introduces two clubs to one another with a view to concluding a transfer agreement, in compliance with the provisions set forth in these regulations".
This means an individual, not a company, can act for both a player and/or a club during transfer negotiations and receive compensation for that service.
In reality, an agent's role stretches further than employment contracts and club introductions. The modern day agent is a trusted advisor within an athlete's inner circle. They are typically involved in every major decision of their professional career and are increasingly involved in a player's personal life. Many are family members or trusted individuals who are often considered close friends.
Agents officially fall into two categories either - a licensed agent or an excluded individual:
Licensed Player Agents:
Article 3, Para 1 FIFA PAR - Players' agents' activity may only be carried out by natural persons who are licensed by the relevant association to carry out such activity;
Article 4, Para 1 FIFA PAR - The parents, siblings or spouse of the player may represent him in the negotiation or renegotiation of an employment contract;
Article 4, Para 2 FIFA PAR - A legally authorised practising lawyer in compliance with the rules in force in his country of domicile may represent a player or a club in the negotiation of a transfer or employment contract.
How do you become an agent?
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- An analysis of The FA Football Agents Regulations and the RFU Regulation 8 (Agents) – Part 1
- An analysis of The FA Football Agents Regulations and the RFU Regulation 8 (Agents) – Part 2
- The Regulation of Players' Agents: The Stakeholders' Perspective
- Makudi v Triesman: Comments on FIFA's ethics leads to questions over the protection offered by the Bill of Rights